Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's 1st Congressional District

It's a race between incumbent Rep. Jim Hagedorn and Democratic challenger Dan Feehan.
Hagedorn feehan

Bring Me The News is looking at each of Minnesota's nine congressional races (nine House, one Senate) in the lead-up to Nov. 3.

Today we look at the 1st Congressional District.

Who's running?

  • Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-incumbent)
  • Dan Feehan (D)
  • Bill Rood (Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party of Minnesota)

District map

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What happened last time?

Hagedorn and Feehan battled it out for the seat vacated by Tim Walz when he stepped down to run (successfully) for governor of Minnesota.

In one of the tightest races in the country, Hagedorn just hung on in an otherwise "blue wave" set of mid-terms to turn the district Republican by just 0.4%.

The race so far

Rep. Hagedorn has found his campaign for re-election beset by a series of controversies that have brought added scrutiny on his time in Congress.

In recent months, he faced calls for an ethics investigation after his office spent tax dollars on mailings from a company owned by one of his staffers, and was also the subject of a story by Politico that alleges he may have broken campaign finance law for renting a basement office in Mankato from a political donor for little rent. His campaign has denied this, claiming it's not an office he's paying for but a PO Box, though the Star Tribune reports a picture tweeted by Hagedorn in 2018 shows him in the basement office with volunteers, and he referred to it as "Hagedorn headquarters."

Hagedorn, who has Stage 4 cancer, was also criticized for going on a Delta flight with his fellow GOP Reps. Pete Stauber and Tom Emmer just two days after flying on Air Force One with President Trump shortly before his positive COVID-19 test.

Feehan, a U.S. Army veteran, has kept a lower profile in terms of headlines during the campaign, though he was the subject of a complaint by Hagedorn and the Republican Party over the money he was paid by a series of nonprofits for work carried out between 2017 and 2019.

Hagedorn alleged Feehan was being "paid to run for Congress by Democratic groups," though financial filings show he wasn't paid for any work during 2018, when he ran for Congress. Feehan has said the accusations are a "desperate act of distraction" from Hagedorn's own scrutiny, while one of the nonprofits has provided an explanation as to the work Feehan carried out for it. Read more here.

Where do the candidates stand?

During the campaign, Feehan has made healthcare one of the main talking points of his run at a time when it's all the more crucial due to COVID-19. He supports the expansion of the Affordable Care Act by offering a public option, as well as lowering the age of Medicare and raising reimbursement rates.

Hagedorn meanwhile opposes the expansion of Medicare, and says the ACA has "failed to deliver on its promises." He is calling for greater transparency in drug pricing and the creation of "high-risk pools" to drive down insurance costs for those without pre-existing conditions.

Hagedorn says he wants to keep protections for those with pre-existing conditions, though AP Fact Check says the efforts by the Trump Administration – whom he supports – to dismantle ACA via the courts would result in fewer protections for these individuals.

At a recent debate, Hagedorn and Feehan discussed the ongoing discussion over police brutality and racial injustice, with Hagedorn criticizing Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey over their handling of the protests and riots that followed George Floyd's death, saying they "didn’t let law enforcement do their jobs and now they’ve been undermined all across this country."

Feehan on the other hand said he doesn't support abolishing the police department but says pitting law enforcement against racial justice is a "false choice," saying: "It’s not this idea of law and order or human rights. It’s both. You can have safe communities and you can have human rights for everyone, including our Black neighbors who are indiscriminately targeted through our criminal justice system."

Bill Rood meanwhile has policies that include marijuana legalization (obviously), campaign finance reform, and single-payer healthcare.

You can find each candidate's stance on the issues below:

Dan Feehan

Jim Hagedorn

Bill Rood

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